After Obiena withdrawal, PSC says mediation 'still best option'


Posted at Jan 25 2022 02:21 PM


MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Tuesday said it has received communication from pole vaulter EJ Obiena regarding his decision not to participate in the agency's mediation proceedings.

Obiena announced on Monday that he is officially withdrawing from the mediation process offered by the PSC, citing the actions done in "bad faith" by the other party involved -- the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

According to the PSC, Obiena's lawyer has already informed them via email that the pole vaulter "will no longer participate in the mediation proceedings."

"As mediation requires for the voluntary agreement of both parties for the process to proceed, we inform you that mediation is temporarily on hold," the PSC said.

The PSC had requested the assistance of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. to resolve the feud between Obiena and the PATAFA, which came to fore after the national sports association accused the athlete of misappropriating funds and failing to pay his coach.

Despite Obiena's decision, the PSC said it maintains its stand that "mediation is still the best option to resolve this matter."

Obiena, in his statement, expressed his gratitude to PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez and stressed that he has "full trust and confidence in the integrity" of the PSC chief.

Obiena also said he believes in mediation "as a tool for peace." However, he opted against going through the process as he does not believe that the PATAFA, his mother organization, has been acting in good faith.

"It seems that PATAFA is only using mediation as means to silence me and to keep the truth hidden. They always trumpet that I should go to mediation if I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to hide and that is the reason why I do not want to go to confidential mediation," Obiena explained.

"Darkness is the home of the oppressor. I want the truth out in public, the same public where I was judged as guilty without due process by (PATAFA president) Mr. (Philip Ella) Juico," he added.

Obiena also revealed on Monday that he has completed his liquidation requirements with the PSC, which the agency confirmed.

"Mr. Obiena has submitted his liquidation reports. The PSC's accounting office and the Commission on Audit shall proceed with their normal post-audit process of checking and verification on submitted liquidation documents," they said.

Obiena is currently recovering from surgery to fix the meniscus in his left knee. He is expected to open his season on January 28 in Germany, before competing in the Asian Indoor Championships on February 11-13 in Kazakhstan.